American Assassin ★★★

2017 Ranked

This looks to be the start of a franchise and while I saw potential in this, there are a lot of flaws but the film itself is still enjoyable if you turn your brain off.

The positives: I thought Taylor Kitsch killed it. He was really good although we don't properly learn why he's the way he is. Michael Keaton was also pretty good but I don't think he was trying very hard...that's just how good he is. Dylan O'Brien was great in the action scenes but anything that involved emotion seemed to be too much for him. His girlfriend is slaughtered (not a spoiler, happens within five minutes) yet his performance doesn't really show any of the grief he should be carrying. I actually liked the direction of this. The shots used for the action scenes I felt were pretty well done.

Now, the biggest flaws. The fucking story was weaksauce. First off, the aforementioned slaughter has no reasoning behind it other than "rahhhh, we're terrorists so we shoot random people." Then, there were a bunch of exposition-filled scenes, like, blatant exposition. Finally, as I mentioned before, the villain (Taylor Kitsch) does some really shitty things and yet, we don't really learn his motivations. Sure, he has some history with Michael Keaton's character but what he is trying to do is on a much grander scale than "revenge on Keaton."

Overall, the film had potential but the writing needs to be way tighter if this is going to be a successful franchise.

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